A super-premium ice cream outlet will officially open tomorrow, but it’s been buzzing with curious patrons for a week now. “We’ve had a soft launch and the response has been good so far,” says Arindam Haldar, director, premium foods, General Mills.
His pet project is the Indian launch of Haagen Dazs, reportedly the world’s first super-premium ice cream, which comes with a high price tag attached — Rs. 180 for a single scoop. “Our prices are at par with international standards. The focus here is not on scoops because this is more of a five-star dessert-dining restaurant. We are rightly priced for the experience we give our customers,” justifies Haldar, adding, “And it doesn’t help that we pay 40 per cent import tax on getting the ice cream here from France.”
Won’t manufacturing in India help, then? “It’ll be difficult, because we manufacture and store at –26 degrees, which is unheard of here,” informs Haldar, pointing that even at stores, their ice creams are kept in specially imported freezers. The menu is a motley of colours and ingredients, with mangoes imported from India, strawberries from Poland, macadamia nuts from Hawaii, vanilla beans from Madagascar, and chocolate from Belgium.
To start with, we pick a rich hot chocolate (Rs. 270). Chocolate Fantasy (Rs 490) comes with three flavours of ice cream, while the more elaborate Paradise (Rs. 680) consists of six flavours sandwiched between three crisp waffles. All dishes can be customized, and many look exactly like the pictures on the menu.
We also try the Fruity Journey (Rs. 680), where the raspberry and mango sorbets stand out compared to their chocolate counterparts. The coffee flavour, too, deserves mention. While the ice cream may be fine for an occasional treat, the exorbitant rates put this scoop arguably out of reach for the average Joe.
Ice cream wars
The only other ice-cream name that falls into the same category is the Swiss Movenpick, which is only slightly lower priced than Haagen Dazs. Single scoops start at Rs. 135 and A 900 ml tub will set you back by Rs. 899.
In comparison, American brand Baskin-Robbins, which ventured into the Indian market first, is far more accessible, offering just as many flavours. A scoop of ice cream here costs Rs. 55 and above, while 500 gm packs come for R 406 onwards.